An advanced atomizer concept to obtain larger production rates of nano-particles by the Flame Spray Pyrolysis process (FSP) is investigated. In the conventional FSP process (external mixing gas/liquid nozzle) production rates may be varied by increasing the precursor feed rate and/or the precursor concentration. However, both measures typically result in the formation of larger nanoparticles. These effects may be avoided by the development and integration of advanced atomizer concepts. The aim is to address the spray structure in a way that keeps the flame height constant and modifies the flame width. Therefore, the time scales and the residence time-temperature histories of droplets and nanoparticles are expected to be similar while the production rate is increased. The atomizer concept for creation of a modified spray and flame combines a swirling liquid film generation that is atomized with an external swirling gas flow.
In the first step a hollow cone of liquid ligaments and primary droplets is generated through a conventional pressure-swirl nozzle. The liquid phase is atomized in the second step, by the expanding gas of a circular ring nozzle. To study the main characteristics of the combined atomizer in model experiments, water and water/glycerol mixtures are used as the liquid phase and air as the gas phase. For investigation of the atomizer and spray properties, the relation between liquid outlet angle, inlet angle of the gas, the gas/liquid flow rates, the spray cone geometry and droplet size distribution are investigated. The spray structure and the breakup of the film are analyzed by high speed images. Laser diffraction is used to measure the droplet size distribution in the spray.
A numerical model is developed and used to simulate the cold gas flow and spray distribution as in the adapted atomizer concept. The Eulerian-Lagranian approach is solved by means of a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) code. The process parameters such as liquid composition, liquid and gas flow rates are varied to meet the specific requirements of the nanoparticle production in the FSP process. The experimental and numerical investigation showed that an enlarged and steady spray resulted from an increased outlet angle of the liquid and gas swirl. Increased tangential velocities increase the entrainment of surrounding gas, widening and providing a more uniform velocity profile to the spray. Spray droplet mean diameters resulted in the desired range of ≤ 20 μm.